When I think of inspirational things, I picture the ocean or unconditional love or perhaps tonight’s ridonculously fantastic “The Power of Madonna” episode of Glee. What doesn’t come to mind were most of tonight’s performance on American Idol that were supposed to tackle songs of inspiration. Despite some nice tutelage by this week’s mentor Alicia Keyes, most of the competitors fell far short of inspiring me to do anything but get some fro yo out of the fridge while they sang. The usual suspects could be blamed: poor song choice, lack of emotional connection, and reaching beyond their ability. However, we should really focus on the fact that most of these competitors still don’t know how to play the game. Unless you have sheer unadulterated vocal talent ala Fantasia, Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, you need to be pay attention to the game and up your ante each week with new moves and plays like David Cook and Adam Lambert. Seriously Casey James, DO SOMETHING NEW! At least Crystal and Lee were in it to win it. If only their peers would wake up and stop acting like they’re on Star Search. And I say all of that with love, people!
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? 12 time Grammy winner Alicia Keyes gave each of the singers sage advice about bringing out the true emotion in their “inspirational” songs and connecting to the audience. Considering she’s sold 30 million albums and is an incredibly dynamic singer and performer, you’d think the Idols’ would’ve listened. Apparently not, especially for Casey and Aaron. At least they can take some notes from Ms. Keyes when she performs in tomorrow night’s Idol Gives Back fundraiser. In the meantime, let’s focus on their performances from this evening.
Casey: Opening the show with another solid if wholly lackluster version of Fleetwood Mac’s #3 hit from 1977 “Don’t Stop,” Casey’s guitar playing took all the glory. It was as if the lead guitar player in a band had gone solo. Um, there’s a reason Richie Sambora’s solo album tanked. He’s no Jon Bon Jovi, and Casey, you sir, are no Lindsay Buckingham. It just didn’t work and it felt like we were watching some garage band re-enact the Clinton victory party from ‘92! (At least that was a good party right?) Anywho, the judges weren’t lovin’ it either as Randy thought it was more of “the same” and Ellen noted his “great guitar playing” not his vocals. Kara thought it felt like a “jam band” and Simon slammed it as not “particularly inspiring” with no “emotion” or “originality.” Looks like Casey won’t stop thinking about his mistakes when he hits the bottom 3 tomorrow night.
Lee: One of the two singers to actually inspire us tonight, Lee rose to the occasion with arguably his best performance to date on Simon and Garfunkel’s #7 classic from 1969, “The Boxer.” Showcasing a lovely vulnerability and his best connection to his material yet, Lee took Alicia’s note to channel the character of the song and take us on a journey. It was just plain great. The judges loved it too with Randy calling him a “great artist ready to make a great record” and Ellen praising his “soul and depth.” Kara declared it his “moment” of the season and Simon hailed it as “absolutely brilliant.” I think his brilliance will be takin’ on Mama Sox in the finals too.
Tim: Mr. Dimples Flatiron hit the stage next with another decent performance. Showing newfound consistency, Tim made the Goo Goo Dolls’ hit “Better Days” sound like a song he could actually record and he stayed in tune for pretty much all of it. I don’t know. I’m just kind of rooting for Tim these days despite the fact that at least 5 other competitors can out sing him. (Sorry Casey). Our judging panel wasn’t as appreciative as me; however, with Randy labeling it “ok karaoke” and Kara wishing he had “better execution.” Simon appreciated his “improvement” but still was a “little let down.” Ellen went on a funny tangent about soup, but unfortunately, today, she didn’t like his soup. The question now is does America want some more Tim Urban noodle soup?
Aaron: The lil teen with the big voice chose the most obvious and irritating song of the night, R, Kelly’s #1 smash “I Believe I Can Fly.” This soaring song needed soaring vocals which Aaron somewhat nailed. However it also needed some type of emotional resonance and passion which were both completely missing in Aaron’s interpretation. I think he overstepped his reach with this one. The judges were mostly on his side though as Randy thought he did a “good job on a giant song” and Ellen thought he’s “on his way” with a “real good” performance. Kara thought the strong ending outweighed a shaky start and Simon felt the audience would like it because he’s Aaron and not because of his actual performance. I wonder just how much they’ll like him though…
Siobhan: With the third of four bad song choices for the night (Casey, Aaron, and Mike being the others), Siobhan was ready to let us have it with some big notes as she tackled Whitney and Mariah’s Oscar nominated hit “When You Believe” from the film The Prince of Egypt. While she hit some lovely softer notes and her upper register was flawless, her belting notes were a bit wobbly and some even flat. It was a strange semi-musical/pageant performance and she looked as if she’d been hanging out with the fairy nymphs in the forest. I like Siobhan but she’s really starting to fluster me. The judges were also a bit concerned as Randy thought it was “just ok” and Kara felt she lacked personality when she sings. Simon called it “all over the place” and “odd.” At least, Ellen liked it. I’m not sure what America will make of it. I will say this, when you’re done singing, just shut up Siobhan! You are so charming and lovably quirky in your clip packages, but your after-song patter is starting to grate!
Big Mike: Let’s just say it. Something about Mike drives me nuts. While I think he has the strongest male voice left in the competition, he has an air of arrogance and entitlement that is seeping through, not to mention reeking of faux drama in some of his performances, like tonight. Now, mind you, I still kind of liked it. So what’s my issue? Well, he hit all his notes on Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott’s “Hero,” a hit from the film Spiderman, which is about a “hero” Simon! However, there’s an obnoxious bravado on display that has been leaving me cold lately. I think the judges are feeling it too as Kara declared it “not her favorite” and Simon thought it was “artificial” and “didn’t gel.” On the positive side, Ellen is still a fan as she summed it up with the eloquent “I liked it.”
Crystal: Oh Mama Sox, you make me wanna burst out into Chicago’s #1 smash “You’re the Inspiration” pretty much every time you sing; and tonight was no exception. From the gorgeous acapella opening to the tear stained last note, Crystal poured out her soul on The Impressions 1965 hit “People Get Ready.” Looking gorgeous and showing true artistry, Crystal cut straight to your heart with an impassioned and tremendous performance that had her breakdown at the end. The judges loved it as well with Randy extolling it as “unbelievable” and giving her the standing “O” while Ellen called it “beautiful” and loves her “growth.” Kara exclaimed that she “just schooled all those (other) contestants” and Simon thought it was “in a completely different class.” I’m sure American would put her at the head of the class tonight.
Wow, with only seven singers left I’m not as drained as I thought I might be after tonight’s show. Perhaps I had been hoping for more inspirational tears ala Fantasia’s “I Believe.” Alas, in a night when the singers chose their songs so poorly, I guess I shouldn’t have expected so much. However, I suppose inspiration comes in all forms and we all know Siobhan finds it an inspiration just to sing… especially in a butterfly filled forest! That said, let’s see where she and the other land in tonight’s Idol Rankings and Predictions.
3. Mike (even though he’s buggin’ me, he sang quite well)
5. Siobhan (did she have to pick Whitney AND Mariah?! She clearly didn’t learn from David Archuleta two years ago)
Bottom 3: Aaron, Casey, Tim (but Mike could wind up here too)
Bottom 2: Aaron, Casey
Bold Buh Bye Prediction: Casey (yes, I think the grannies and tweens with save Aaron and the cougars will fail Casey)
With such a bold prediction as the ousting of our goldilocks rocker, I think it must be time for this recap to come to an end. However, before we do, here are some parting Idol thoughts… Anybody love the fact that it was just an hour show tonight? There was practically no time for Ryan to act crazy!… Did anyone else notice the big hug Alicia gave Crystal compared to the perfunctory hugs she gave her competitors? … Anybody else feel like Mike and Siobhan should just head to Broadway now? … Just why was Aaron working some k.d. lang hair again? … How cool was Crystal’s mic stand? … And who else is wondering if they’re actually gonna give out results on tomorrow night’s Idol Gives Back or just fake us out like they did two years ago? … Let me know your thoughts and what inspired you about Idol tonight below.
Source: LimeWire Music Blog